As part of the ticket package, entry is included to watch the F1 practice sessions on the Friday. Should be a fantastic day, fast cars, great music and Bastille Day celebrations.
I've been having a bit of a disaster tiling the kitchen this week.
We bought 7 boxes of plain white tiles to do the walls above the cooker and kitchen sink that were on special offer. What I didn't realise was that there were three different batch numbers stamped on the boxes.
Like the books say I took several boxes and randomly pulled tiles out of each box and tiled the wall behind the cooker and under the kitchen units. The result looked OK when I stood back but the tiles seemed a little 'grey'. I just put it down to the light.
However halfway through the second wall I stood back and noticed the wall looked like a patchwork quilt of grey, white and off-white tiles. Truly awful. I just couldn't have lived with it. So I had to strip off the tiles and adhesive and chuck them out. Sorting through the unopened boxes revealed the batch number problem. Different shades of white.
Luckily when tiling the first wall I must have used tiles from the same batch but the second wall was a mixture of three different tile batches. So the first wall got left, and I had to go out and buy more tiles, this time paying particular attention to the batch numbers printed on the tile boxes.
Very frustrating having to do a job twice, but I guess that is what was special about the tiles.
Last year I missed the Scorpions at the three day rock festival in Brittany at Bobital, Terre Neuvas, so this year I decided to buy tickets before the line-up was confirmed. So far there are a number of French bands confirmed but also, a bit of a suprise, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis have joined together to perform at this years festival.
Lets hope they are still alive for the 8th July.
Took the afternoon off work to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at Saint-Malo this afternoon. It took about a couple of hours to go round the exhibition of various Eygptian treasures and the famous Tutankhamun burial mask and 'russian doll' sarcophagus. There was also a copy of the Rosetta stone that I found interesting. It was quite suprising how well preserved most of the artifacts were after 5000 years but I think the vast majority of exhibits where replicas from the Cairo Museum.
I remember as a boy that the exhibition was in London in 1972 but the was so much media coverage at the time I really can't remember if I actually went to see Tutankhamun that time, so it was good to see it all these years later.
Well worth a visit if you are in Saint-Malo in the next couple of weeks.
There is a large PDF presentation here
Finally got around to fitting the worktops and fitting the kitchen sink today. Got slightly way laid on some finishing touches upstairs because Caroline went to Ikea yesterday to buy beds, bedroom furniture etc, and it seemed like a good idea to get upstairs basically finished and cleaned up. There is only the last coat of paint to put on the window trims and around the loft hatch and it's finished.
Anyway back to the kitchen today and putting in the sink.
Cut hole in kitchen sink for tap
The kitchen tap is fitted via a 35mm hole in the kitchen sink. The draining board is going on the right-hand side so I know the front and back part of the sink. I drilled a 10mm hole where the tap was to be positioned and the little black device in the photo is threaded through the hole so that the cutter is underneath the sink and the 'clamp' on top. By just tightening the nut the two halves cut a neat and easy 35mm hole in the correct place.
Markout kitchen sink location
Stick and oblong of masking tape on the worktop and then lay the kitchen sink upside-down on the worktop. I positioned the tap hole on the centerline of the kitchen window above the worktop. It just seemed pleasing to the eye. Draw round the sink onto the masking tape with the sink positioned squarely on the worktop.
Markout the hole
The actual hole in the workstop for the kitchen sink has to be 10mm smaller than the size of the sink. Fairly obvious really otherwise the sink would just fall straight through. So, on the masking tape draw parallel lines 10mm in from the kitchen sink outline with a straight edge etc.
Cut sink hole
The scary bit. With a large drill bit cut four holes, one in each corner, for the jigsaw blade. Using the jigsaw just cut along the lins to join up the four corners. I used a brand new fine cut blade and put the canter on a low setting to prevent chipping the formica worktop.
I have found in the past it's best to go slowly otherwise the blade skews off the vertical and you end up with sloping sides on your hole.
Obviously if you are cutting with the worktop resting on the kitchen cabinets make sure you don't jigsaw through the cabinet sides, and before you ask, not I haven't made that mistake; yet!
Pop the kitchen sink in place just to check everything fits OK.
If any water seeps under the kitchen sink and soaks into the wood of the worktop it could expand and 'blow' the worktop, so I put bathroom silicon sealant on the cut edges. Just pump a thick wiggly bead onto the edge and work it in with your fingers. I also do the same on the back edge of the worktop.
Kitchen sink clips
The kitchen sink we bought came with 14 clips that hook under the sink and then screw up onto the underside of the worktop to clamp it down firmly. I did have to cut some notches in the kitchen cabinet horizontal cross members so the clips could fit onto the worktop.
Sealing putty and earthing
Nearly there. The kitchen sink came with with a roll of grey sticky putty like stuff that seals the gaps between the sink and the worktop. Just lay it round the edge of the sink. I also took the opportunity to connect up an earth wire whilst the sink was out.
Now simply pop the whole lot in the hole, make sure it is squared up and tighten up the clips to install it. I tighten up the clips in a sort of zig-zag order, a bit like tightening wheel nuts, to pull the whole thing down square and flat.
It is most probably easier to fit the tap before installing the kitchen sink so you don't have to be double jointed to get to the nut for the tap. However there seemed to be enough room for my hands so I did it afterwards. The tap was supplied with braided flexible hoses so connection to the water supply was trivial.
Finally fit the drain plugs and waste piping to finish the job. Our kitchen sink came with this amazing bending, twisting, adjustable contraption that looked really wierd but actually slotted in very easily. The flexible waste tube was glued into the pipe coming out the bottom of the kitchen cabinet.
I spent the last two days fitting all the skirting boards upstairs in the gite. Took a break from the kitchen fitting as the next task is to cut the hole in the worktop for the sink, and it's a bit scary. Procrastination is my middle name
Instead of wooden skirting board Caroline bought MDF skirting boards with a light oak finish to match the flooring upstairs in the gite. They have a much better finish than wood and it saves the trouble of sanding, staining, etc. The only downside is that the mitres in the corners have to be cut perfect because you can't really fill any gaps and paint/stain over them. The floor was a bit lumpy in places it I had to scribe the bottoms of the skirting boards to get them to fit snugly against the floor. It's the first time I've had to get my spokeshave out for a few years. Very handy tool. I wish I'd spent more time in the beginning getting the floor flatter, as I blogged before, it really pays to be attentive to getting everything square and level in the long run.
Because the skirting boards have a 'plastic' oak veneer you can't really screw the boards to the wall and fill the holes, so I've been using a contact adhesive ' aka Evo-Stik' (colle néoprène en francais) in a tube like bathroom silicon and applied with a gun as a couple of beads to the back of the skirting board. The skirting board is then pressed into position and removed. After waiting about 15 minutes the glue is dry and the board is pushed into place and fixed solid.
I did notice that yesterday afternoon I kept making lots of silly mistakes, like cutting mitres the wrong way and forgetting measurements. How can you forget a measurement in the three foot walk from the wall to the mitre saw! I put it down to tireness or a lack of sugar at first but it transpired that I was as high as a kite from the glue fumes. Drugged and foggy. Now I know why that say 'use in a well ventilated area' on the tube.
The willow play house planted in mid January this year is really starting to sprout. Quite impressive in just 3 months. I think it's it is going to take quite a bit of maintenance if it keeps growing at this rate. The children staying at our gites should really enjoy the new addition to the gardens.
I've had to take a few days off building work because on Monday morning I went to hospital to have a surgery on my little toe to remove a deep corn. I've had it for years and it often made walking painful so I decided to have it removed. Bit painful and not very mobile at the moment.
The layoff has given me the opportunity to add availability information for each of the gites to our website. We have held off putting availability on the site for several years for a number of reasons:-
- Keeping them updated.
- Can't offer alternative gites or weeks.
- Can't refer to other owners when full.
However the advantages are:-
- Less email/phone admin for weeks already booked. Especially July/August.
- Provides confidence to potential guests that we are popular/desirable etc.
- Might encourage earlier booking if guests see weeks filling up.
We'll have to see how it goes.